But while the Ukrainian-born dancer has made it to the final round of the immensely popular dance show four times in his 13 seasons, his elimination from the all-star competition came with an almost welcome whimper.
“There’s no sting, no sting at all,” Chmerkovskiy, attending the launch event for Kimberly Snyder’s juice bar Glow Bio in West Hollywood, tells PEOPLE about Wednesday’s elimination, which sent him and partner Kirstie Alley home.
“First of all, it was not losing, because Kirstie did amazing, given the fact that we were up against such incredibly talented competition.”
Chmerkovskiy, 32, led Alley to second place in season 12, but this time around, with a competition so fiercely contested, Chmerkovskiy readily admits that the chips – and the cha-cha-cha – may have been stacked against him and the actress, 61.
“We just couldn’t overcome a 20-point deficit,” Chmerkovskiy says. “And it was two weeks of low scores, but God knows that [Kirstie] gave me everything that she had and more, and we’re both very grateful for how long that we lasted.”
Something else the dance pro is grateful for: beating out some of his top competitors.
“Seeing Sabrina [Bryan] go before us, seeing Joey Fatone go before us,” Chmerkovskiy says. “All of the amazing dancers that went before us as we stayed in the competition, it was a blessing, and we have to thank the fans [who] kept us there.”
Now free to root for his younger brother, Val, and partner Kelly Monaco, Chmerkovskiy is taking a different approach as his sibling heads into the final rounds.
“This is his experience and I want him to be responsible for it,” Chmerkovskiy says, “And God knows that [Val] has the talent and the ability to educate and perform, and he’s been doing fantastic with Kelly. For me, there’s not much more that I could tell him other than to have him keep doing what he’s doing.”
As for how Val is feeling, the dancer isn’t as cool as his newly eliminated brother.
“He’s freaking out, and he’s like, ‘This is crazy! I can’t believe you did this 13 times!'” Chmerkovskiy says of his brother’s reactions to judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. “I gloat [over] the fact that he’s now like, ‘I can’t believe you did this that much!’ “